Oxtail Stew


5 from 28 votes
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This oxtail stew is the ultimate comfort food: hearty, healthy, and flavorful! This one-pot recipe makes a cozy dinner featuring succulent oxtail chunks slow-cooked in a rich, flavorful gravy! 

Love slow-cooked beef recipes? Try my boneless beef short ribs, beef barbacoa, and beef shanks.

Jamaican oxtail stew.

Cozy stews and casseroles are a weekly staple in our household during the cooler months. If you love truly tender beef, then cooking with oxtails is a must.

After using it to make oxtail soup and this hearty oxtail stew, our family has been converted, and I hope you will be, too!

Table of Contents
  1. What are oxtails?
  2. Ingredients Needed
  3. How to make oxtail stew
  4. Alternative cooking methods
  5. Recipe tips and variations
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. More comforting soups and stews to try
  9. Oxtail Stew (Recipe Card)

What are oxtails?

Simply put, oxtails are chunks of skinned cattle tails. Rich in collagen and marrow, when slow-cooked for long, they become tender, like braised short ribs.

I often describe them as meatier beef short ribs, so if you love them, you will undoubtedly enjoy oxtails. Here are some reasons why I LOVE this recipe:

  • One pot meal. I love one-pot recipes. It massively reduces the effort of cleaning and simplifies the cooking process. 
  • The perfect texture. When cooked over low heat for a long time, oxtail becomes so tender that it melts in your mouth. The meat falls off the bone!
  • Hands-off cooking. Once it’s slow simmering, you can check once every few minutes to confirm nothing is burning or sticking to the base. It also allows me to consider making some sides or even a cheeky dessert. 
  • Healthy and filling. Because it is packed with proteins and veggies in a flavorful broth, it’s a wholesome meal in a bowl.
oxtail stew with mashed potatoes in bowls.

Ingredients Needed

A few sauces, aromatics, spices, veggies, and beef stock! That’s all you need to make this straightforward recipe. Here are the specifics:

  • Oxtails. I prefer 2-3-inch thick chunks of oxtails for this recipe. Also, choose ones with bone intact because it adds to the super flavorful gravy. 
  • Worcestershire sauce. This is an all-in-one flavor bomb that never disappoints! It adds some tang and umami flavor. Don’t have any on hand? Try some balsamic vinegar. 
  • Soy sauce. Balances out the sweet flavors with some savory punch. I used low-sodium soy sauce, but use anything you prefer. 
  • Brown sugar. Adding some sugar adds richness and actually helps tenderize the meat even more so it falls off the bone. 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.
  • Paprika and cayenne pepper. For the smoky and subtle heat. If you aren’t a fan of spice, you can skip the cayenne. 
  • Olive oil. To sear the meat. Use any oil you like or even some butter. 
  • Carrots and celery. Two non-negotiable vegetables that are a must when cooking hearty cuts of meat. 
  • Onion. To flavor the gravy.
  • Garlic. I always use fresh garlic cloves as sometimes the pre-bottled ones are a little gritty and don’t actually infuse much flavor. 
  • Red wine. Red wine adds a beautiful depth to the stew and enhances the other ingredients’ natural flavor. Don’t worry, though- you won’t taste any wine whatsoever. Not a fan of alcohol in your cooking? Use more beef broth. 
  • Tomato paste. For the concentrated tangy flavor without needing a bunch of tomatoes. 
  • Beef broth. Beef stock complements the oxtail flavor wonderfully. Use chicken stock or water instead if you don’t have this on hand.
  • Bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. For herby spice and flavor.

How to make oxtail stew

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Marinate oxtails: Combine the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl and coat the oxtails evenly in the marinade.

oxtails in marinade in a bowl.

Step 2- Sear the oxtails: Sear the oxtails in a Dutch oven or pot until browned on all sides. Then, remove them and set them aside.

seared oxtails in a Dutch oven.

Step 3- Sauté veggies: Add more oil to the same pot, and saute onion, carrots, and celery until soft. Sweat garlic until the raw flavor dies down. Next, add tomato paste and cook until it darkens.

sauteed vegetables in a pot.

Step 4- Deglaze the pot and cook the oxtails: Pour in the red wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates. Stir in the stock, oxtails, bay leaves, and fresh spices, and bring the stew to a boil. Lower the temperature to simmer, cover with a lid, and cook until the oxtails become tender.

simmering oxtails in a Dutch oven.

What to serve with this

I love serving this oxtail stew over plain or coconut ricecauliflower mashed potatoes, or with a hunk of cornbread. 
You could also enjoy it with crusty no yeast bread or dinner rolls that would soak the flavorful stew. Pairing it with some cooked beans, like great northern beans will also balance out this dish.

Alternative cooking methods

I’ve received countless messages and emails to provide instant pot options to my soup, so you can bet your bottom dollar I have whipped out my IP to test this to make an instant pot oxtail stew. It’s quicker than cooking it on a stovetop, but the only qualm is that the meat isn’t AS tender, but the difference is barely noticeable. Here is how you cook it: 

Start by setting the Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode, heat olive oil, and sear seasoned oxtails until browned. Remove and set aside. Next, sauté carrots, celery, onion, and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Deglaze with red wine, stir in tomato paste, and cook for two more minutes. Now, Return oxtails, add beef stock and bay leaves, and stir to combine. Finally, close the lid and set it to “Manual” for 45 minutes at high pressure. Naturally release for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.

Just remember to discard any bones that may have naturally fallen off the meat.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Do NOT cook over high heat– Low and slow is the way to go! Rushing it won’t cook the oxtail to the desired texture and consistency. Cook on a low simmer until you see meat falling off the bone.
  • Make it in advance– Like any good stew or curry, the longer this dish sits, the more flavorful it will be. If I’m making a big serving or intending to feed a crowd, I like to make this up to three days in advance. 
  • Don’t buy fatty oxtail pieces– If you can choose your own oxtail portions, look for pieces that have some fat but mostly meat. If you see too much fat on the meat, remove it using a paring knife before cooking. Another way to remove excess fat is after the stew is cooked. You can allow it to cool down and remove the excess fat from the surface for a cleaner-tasting, healthier dish.
  • Add beans– Make a Jamaican oxtail stew that features butter beans or lima beans. They cook down with the stew and have the perfect soft texture. I personally prefer butter beans due to their mild flavor. 
  • Add rice or pasta– To make this a complete meal, I often cook rice or pasta in the liquid while the oxtails cook. If using rice, it has an almost risotto-like texture. Of course, you can skip this and make a side of mashed potatoes. 

Storage instructions

To store. Place stew leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  

To freeze. Transfer the cooled stew to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months! 

To reheat. If frozen, thaw the stew overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in a pan until heated through.

oxtail stew with mashed potatoes.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this stew in a slow cooker?

Absolutely. Add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until super-tender!

What does the oxtail stew taste like?

Oxtail stew tastes like beef stew. It has a rich, savory, and thick consistency and has the most delicious broth/gravy.

More comforting soups and stews to try

oxtail stew recipe.

Oxtail Stew

5 from 28 votes
This beef oxtail stew is the ultimate comfort food: hearty, healthy, and flavorful! This one-pot recipe makes a cozy winter meal featuring succulent oxtail chunks slow-cooked in a rich, spice-infused gravy! Watch the video below to see how I make this in my kitchen!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 35 minutes



  • 3 pounds oxtails sliced into 2-inch thickness
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Combine the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Dredge the oxtails in the marinade on both sides.
  • Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pot or Dutch oven, and brown the oxtails on all sides.
  • Add the remaining oil, followed by the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add in the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes until it starts to darken.
  • Pour in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Add the beef broth, oxtails, bay leaves, and fresh spices. Once boring, lower the temperature to simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for two hours or until the oxtails become tender.
  • Remove from the heat and serve immediately.


TO STORE. Place stew leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  
TO FREEZE. Transfer the cooled stew to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months! 
TO REHEAT. If frozen, thaw the stew overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in a pan until heated through.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 408kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 45gFat: 26gSodium: 1765mgPotassium: 312mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3243IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 8mgNET CARBS: 8g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published September 2023 and updated March 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Incredibly tasty….simple to prepare. Used the slow cooker and cooked it on low for six hours.
    Served with homemade mashed potatoes. Perfect for a cold snowy night like tonight!

  2. 5 stars
    This was Delish…Mom would make Puerto Rican 🇵🇷 Oxtail Stew to die for. also made a savory Beef Tongue.